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Prison Journalism: A day in Pollsmoor

29/02/2024

Prison Journalism: A day in PollsmoorVuyani Kedama was sentenced to four years and later to three years in July 2022. His life was in disarray, with seemingly no future ahead, until he joined restorative justice programmes

by Vuyani Kedama

29-02-2024 09:47

in Prison Journalism

Prison

Image by unsplash

Have you ever been in prison before? If not, let me take you on a journey, or should I say, to a place you've never been before.

--

Diversity Among Prisons Pollsmoor, Mangaung, Drakenstein, Robben Island, all of these places are completely different from one another. When I say different, I mean hospitality, food, dressing attire, and most importantly, the rules of the facility.

Understanding Prison Rules The first thing you need to note in prison is the rules of the facility you're entering. You don't want to enter a place and have no idea of what is going on around you and you're totally kind of lost.

Daily Life in Prison In prison, you need to know first you're not at your mother's house. You obey the rules and instructions if you want to survive inside. I myself came up with a daily routine for myself. Every day I wake up at 05:00/05:30. I then brush my teeth, take a shower, and then get dressed.

--

Morning Routine I then wait patiently, lying on my bed with my book. The first movement of the day is counting time. We all come out of our cells and form a line. After the counting, the guards lock up again until breakfast time, which is around 07:30/08:00 am. After breakfast, we are back into our cell rooms.

Engaging in Reading After breakfast, I usually do my reading. I became interested in books in prison. You cannot just be around the whole day doing nothing; you will need to find something to keep you busy.

The Importance of Coffee As I read my book, I usually make myself a hot cup of coffee to boost my energy. A cup of java is one of the most important things for an inmate in prison. At around past 08:27 am, an officer comes yelling in each and every cell for workers to work. And you know what, that is when time starts to fly, and for a moment, I forget I am incarcerated.

--

Exercise and Recreation Around past 10 to 11, the officers open up for us for exercise. Exercise time is only one hour depending on our behaviour (inmates). Sometimes we only get thirty minutes to twenty minutes a day of exercise. So, you need to make the most out of the minute we get. After exercise, the guards take us back to our cells.

Afternoon Routine When I come back from exercise, I usually take a shower again, but this time with cold water. We only get hot water from the taps at 05:00 am until 06:00 am in the morning.

Lunch and Afternoon Lock-up After my shower, just in time, it's lunchtime at 12:30. The guards open up for us again for our last meal of the day. When we're done dishing up, it's straight to our cell rooms again. But this time, the officers leave 3/2 cleaners to clean the section while they're getting ready to leave/go home.

DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received

Should you wish to assist in the rehabilitation of former inmates and help put money into the pockets of those who have struggled to earn a living during and after incarceration, click HERE

RESTORE is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, providing inmates at Pollsmoor Prison with restorative justice opportunities.

If you have any questions you would like to ask our prison journalists, WhatsApp us on 060 011 0211.

Do you have contact with a prison inmate who would like to write for The South African website? If so, send an email to info@thesouthafrican.com or a WhatsApp to 060 011 0211.

You can also follow @TheSAnews on Twitter and The South African on Facebook to get the latest prison journalism articles.

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